Touched with a melancholy

Ihave now my full share of years. It is not an extraordinary life by any means, but luckier than many, I think, and happier than many, I think. I have experienced God’s grace and power in my life; there’s been a benign Providence. I’ve sensed the hand of God. There were genuine encounters with the Holy One. I’m confident the Lord takes a personal interest in my life. Catholic teaching tells me that. God desires to be in relationship with me (Psalm 41). My past life is brimful of God’s goodness. There were particular ways the Divine Goodness showed in my life. The victory of grace ends most of my stories. I no longer know myself apart from God.

Catholic teaching tells us that the primary purpose of our lives on this planet is to establish a relationship with the Person who placed us here. The true purpose of our existence in this world is to look for God. I’m at a point where I no longer know myself apart from God. I cannot identify myself to someone without mentioning Jesus. Like Marcus Aurelius, I say of all things and events around me, “This has come from God.” I sense the inescapable reality of God. God is present at all times and places, We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. God is everywhere, often incognito.

The victory of grace ends most of my stories.

I have a snapshot of myself aged 12 or so with my backpack and cold-weather gear. My frightened eyes are clearly in the picture. My frightened eyes are still in pictures. Some people keep getting gentler as they grow older. As I get older, I get increasingly grimmer, or more exactly, sadder; There are times when so much strikes me as unutterably sad.

My life’s timeline has two broken places. There was the death of my wife that took a lot of inner recovery; I have never fully recovered. I learned to redefine my life, but was never the same. My brother’s death has been another among the losses that define my life. I got used to being lonely. The house and I are often alone. I have deduced a few things about life; for example,

I have deduced the idea that happiness is based on generosity and love. My active means of serving God is more and more by passive gentleness and kindness and trying not to be too exacting of others.

I have a crop of inextinguishable regrets. Like many others, there are things I wish I hadn’t done, things I should have done, but there are things I’m happy to have done.

Sometimes I can grow weary of myself. As Hopkins said of himself, “I have lost interest in myself.” But I’ve never been bored. Reading is one of the greatest graces in my life, and I’m good at steady drudgery,

God is present at all times and in all places. There are places to which I would like to return.

So I worry my worries. I look forward to the years to come as a time to deepen my life with God, knowing God in a deeper way, coming to know God intuitively.

The book, The Cloud of unknowing, has the dictum that God cannot be known by thought, but only by love. The only definition of God we find in the New Testament is when it says that “God is love.”

But who ultimately knows the way of things. How do things work in God’s world? I get messages I’m never going to figure out. Things remain ineffable. Much must remain forever mystery, beyond calculation and control.

I look forward to the years to come as a time to deepen my life with God; to know God in a deeper way, intuitively

I hope I will find a heart more compassionate and less judgmental, more humble and less self-righteous, more grateful and less resentful.

But, above all, I say to God: “Thanks, thanks for everything. Praise, praise for it all.”